By definition, leadership refers to the ability of an individual to influence and lead people. There are several types of leaders all around us – political leaders, religious leaders, cult leaders, business leaders, industry leaders, etc. Despite the difference in styles and purposes of these varied leaders, studies show that there are certain leadership characteristics and personality traits that every successful leader is known to have demonstrated in the past. Some of these characteristics include honesty, integrity, charisma, authenticity, humility, etc.

Leadership might be second nature to many, but it can be acquired with practice over time. A good place to start becoming a leader is to think like one. And what better way to think like one than reading books that stand testament to their successful leadership? Listed below are a few books that every aspiring leader must read to be successful:

1. Lean-In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, Sheryl Sandberg

Authored by the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg in her book ‘Lean In’ talks about what women can do instead of focusing on what they are supposedly not good at, i.e. leading people. A bible for women in leadership positions, this book preaches that leadership may not be inherent nature to some people, but it can be developed with perseverance.

2. The Power to Thrive! Building the Foundations of a Thriving Career & Life, Randy Kay

A very impactful book written by Randy Kay, who’s a corporate trainer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. Imagine how it would feel to thrive in all areas of your life? What if you could develop a thriving mindset? In this book, you’ will discover the four essential foundations of people who thrive, and learn how to develop relevant skills to build those four foundations for yourself. You’ll learn how to thrive and make a big impact.

3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek

This gem of a book by Simon Sinek urges people to ask the question why – why are some organizations more successful? Why are some people more influential? Why do some brands garner stronger loyalty from their customers? In his book ‘Start With Why’, Sinek suggests that the only thing common between the most successful leaders known to man is that they think quite the opposite of what everyone else thinks.

4. Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers – people who do not fall into the normal curve. In this book, Malcolm Gladwell takes the reader on an intellectual ride with the outliers, i.e. the high achievers, and what sets them apart from the rest. With examples ranging from software billionaires to reasons why Asians are good at math, Outliers is one book that is sure to be a bestseller for years to come, owing to its relevance and simplicity.

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie

Lastly, the popular self-help book is a classic for a good reason. It imparts not just leadership skills but also important life skills. Although some ideas and examples may now seem orthodox, the book in itself is a treasure and extremely relatable for the masses even today.

While these are only a handful of books to start with, reading memoirs of successful leaders can go a long way in becoming a leader yourself.

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